The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today
that the remains of ten U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been
identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
They are 2nd Lt. Raymond A. Cooley, of Leary, Texas; 2nd Lt. Dudley R. Ives, of
Ingleside, Texas; 2nd Lt. George E. Archer, of Cushing, Okla.; 2nd Lt. Donald F. Grady, of
Harrisburg, Pa.; Tech. Sgt. Richard R. Sargent, of North Girard, Pa.; Tech. Sgt. Steve Zayac, of
Cleveland, Ohio; Staff Sgt. Joseph M. King, of Detroit, Mich.; Staff Sgt. Thomas G. Knight, of
Brookfield, Ill.; Staff Sgt. Norman L. Nell, of Tarkio, Mo.; and Staff Sgt. Blair W. Smith, of Nu
Mine, Pa.; all U.S. Army Air Forces. The dates and locations of the funerals are being set by their
Representatives from the Army met with the next-of-kin of these men in their hometowns
to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military
honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.
On April 16, 1944, a B-24 Liberator crewed by these airmen was returning to the
aerodrome at Nadzab, New Guinea, after bombing enemy targets near Hollandia. The aircraft
was altering course due to bad weather and was proceeding to the aerodrome at Saidor, but it
never returned to friendly lines.
In late 2001, the U.S. Embassy in Papua New Guinea notified the Joint POW/MIA
Accounting Command (JPAC) that wreckage of a World War II bomber had been found in
Morobe Province. Early the next year, a JPAC team surveyed the site and found aircraft
wreckage and remains. They also collected more remains and Grady’s identification tag from
local villagers who had found the items at the crash site.
Later in 2002, a JPAC team began excavating the crash site and recovered remains and
crew-related items, included identification tags for Knight and Smith. The team was unable to
complete the recovery, and another JPAC team re-visited the site two weeks later to complete the
excavation. The team found additional remains and identification tags for Sargent and King.
Among dental records, other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence,
scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used
mitochondrial DNA in the identification of the remains.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing
Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.